n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Some factors influencing the use of simultaneous interpreting as an alternative to parallel-medium teaching in tertiary education




Currently, a number of historical Afrikaans universities (i.e. North-West University, the University of the Free State and the University of Johannesburg) are experimenting with the use of simultaneous interpreting (using the whispered mode) as an alternative to parallel-medium teaching.

Simultaneous interpreting is discussed as a useful language policy management mechanism against the backdrop of a changing linguistic context at tertiary institutions. In the case of the University of Johannesburg's Kingsway Campus, a dramatic shift has taken place in the linguistic profile of learners over the past nine years. This shift has not only led to a need to reformulate the institution's language policy, but also poses challenges to the relevance of the languages of learning and teaching traditionally used, namely English and Afrikaans.
It was therefore decided to experiment with the use of simultaneous interpreting to provide teaching and thus additional linguistic support in the four languages prescribed by the University's language policy, namely English, Afrikaans, Sesotho sa Leboa and isiZulu. The project aimed at establishing how a multilingual context would impact on learners' language attitudes and what the repercussions of such attitudes would be on interpreting in the classroom.
This article reports on some of the factors found to influence the use of simultaneous interpreting at the University of Johannesburg, namely the hegemony of English, the extent of the linguistic diversity that has become characteristic of tertiary classrooms, and the impact of language attitudes.


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